Mulroney tells government to send Chretien to China to win release of detainees

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says the government should enlist another former prime minister to lead a delegation to China to win the release of two imprisoned Canadians.

Mulroney tells The Canadian Press that Jean Chretien should be accompanied by his son-in-law Andre Desmarais, one of the top executives of Montreal's Power Corporation.

Mulroney says Chretien and Desmarais are well-connected in China, and could get a deal done to break Canada's impasse with the People's Republic.

Ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor are under arrest in China facing allegations of espionage and endangering national security.

Many see their imprisonment as retribution for Canada's decision to arrest Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's spokesman says the government has no immediate plans to dispatch such a delegation to China, while Desmarais declined to comment and a spokesman for Chretien did not return a request for comment.